I love working with great leaders!
I love the energy of bringing ideas to life with self-starters who inspire and motivate others to join in.
This is what makes my job so fulfilling.
I fear a leadership gap. I fear that for all our talk of leadership these days that it’s becoming just that – talk.
I fear that leaders aren’t being intentionally developed and for as much as we talk about leadership in the church, we will find ourselves with leadership anorexia.
That fear uncovered my flaw. I like working with leaders. I like leading others who are already leading.
My failure is in developing other leaders. It’s not that I haven’t done this at all, but that I’ve failed to create a culture and a system that supports leadership development throughout our organization.
I’ve been too concerned about my own leadership development and recruiting leaders who have already arrived rather than developing a culture that strategically builds and develops leaders from within.
We as leaders have to learn to grow up. Just leading doesn’t make us great leaders. Developing leaders makes us great leaders. Part of growing up as a leader is recognizing your responsibility to develop others.
We have to grow up in order to grow up other leaders.
What do you think it takes to create a great leadership development culture?
I love what our church does to intentionally develop young leaders – it is called our Future Leaders Program and it is a systematic, year-long internship that then leads into fellowships for the participants during the subsequent years(http://mbcfutureleaders.com/)
For me personally because I have spent so many years in training, I kind of have made it my mission to “train myself out of a job” (which has actually happened on more than one occasion 🙂
I’m gonna check that out, Jenny. Thank you!
Another excellent post Jenni. I also feel we are way too reliant on recruiting out-of-the-box leaders rather than developing them. Spot-on comment that developing leaders is a huge part of helping us grow ourselves as leaders. I don’t feel like I have good answers to your questions, but do have some thoughts.
– Leadership development ‘culture’ is the way to approach it – it’s more than a program or process, it needs to permeate in all levels where leaders serve and interact.
– Should be multi-venue, both vision/skills/training in a large group/educational setting, but also using small groups and definitely one-on-one ‘on the job’ (just as discipling must include life-on-life, not just study).
– It has to be intentional, modeled from the top and down, expected and rewarded in job descriptions
– It has to include personal development and lifelong learning too
Comments from any who feel they have a good leadership development culture in place?
Great stuff, Larry! Thank you!
I spent ten years working in public K-12 education, not as a classroom teacher, but as support staff, mostly at a district level. This often affects my views of development and training in the church. I often view education as a damaged ship that can’t ever come to port to fixed, but there are some things I think they have wrestled with better than the church has in this area.
In the church we often raise up those who are already almost there and will make it anyways, rather than investing in those who truly need the hand up and won’t make it on their own. We give a lot of information, but don’t teach the why and how, which is creating a lot of head knowledge, but creates a disconnect with the heart. I share the fear that we might be moving toward a leadership void. I look back over the last 50 years and see how our Biblical knowledge and literacy has dropped, and I am concerned about the lack of real education, empowerment, and training I see in the church.
Now, if only I had any ideas about how to change it…I don’t, which is why I usually don’t speak about my fears and concerns. I want to be a person of hope and empowerment that stands behind those who do lead well in this area and help them do more and speak louder. Keep speaking Jenni, you are asking great questions.
Sherie, I like this: “we often raise up those who are already almost there and will make it anyways, rather than investing in those who truly need the hand up and won’t make it on their own”. Sometimes I think we take the easy road in leadership development.
Great post Jenni
I think it takes these things:
1) Recruit great people–always looking for the best and brightest and those teachable
2) Teaching them the great things of leadership (not just principles but all of the nuts and bolts of leadership)
3) Giving them practical experience and feedback–this is where we usually fall off the chart
4) Making sure they know how to replicate themselves. If we only do it once, then we haven’t created leaders–we’ve made copies of ourselves. Great leaders make great leaders that make great leaders.
Great thoughts, Jim! Thank you!
Oh.. and have fun while you’re doing it. No one wants to become in an environment that can’t celebrate and cultivate life together!
Great post Jenni!
It’s so important for todays leaders take future leaders under their wings and water and feed them. When they are ready to take off we get to enjoy the result and be a part of the bigger picture.
Not much I can add to that – you summed it up very nicely, Jenni. Great reminder…thank you. 🙂